Holly's blog: In the field | ACMA


26 November, 2015 11:39 AM


Holly's blog: In the field

By Holly Buckle

ACMA Car and antenna

Where’s Wally Andrew?

The ACMA’s field staff are a dedicated lot. This week Andrew Brachmanis had to go to a Melbourne tip to hunt down a thrown-away emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) that was transmitting. This can make it very difficult for AusSAR—the Australian Search and Rescue centre—in Canberra to locate emissions from EPIRBs that have been activated in an emergency.

It’s hard to spot Andrew in the big sea of rubbish. I fear my own dedication would quail at the thought of getting my gorgeous pink safety boots dirty. So far they’ve been used for ceremonial purposes only, such as when international visitors come to town. Note to self: rectify this!

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Image 1: Andrew Brachmanis’ work conditions were less than optimal

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Image 2: My unblemished boots

Priorities first

The work of the ACMA’s Field Operations and Compliance section (CFOS) is underpinned by its annual Priority Compliance Areas (PCA) program. Industry engagement is a key focus of our plan from the beginning this year and that has come a step closer with a partnership agreed to between the ACMA and the Institute of Instrumentation, Control and Automation (IICA).

The IICA was established in 1943 and brings together players in the instrumentation, automation and control industries (from engineers, maintenance and installers, to suppliers/vendors to large companies). It’ll be the perfect forum for us to start talking to people involved in the manufacture, installation and use of radio frequency identification devices (which also means it couldn’t be more perfect for our radiocommunications transmitter licensing PCA!).

We will be communicating to IICA’s 20,000 members through its newsletters, social media platforms and technical expos. Watch this space as we start working with the institute on our own razzle dazzle technical evening focusing on wireless regulation in Australia, supplier obligations, workplace safety and live demonstrations of our equipment.

Holly’s dictionary

As you all know I am a non-technical girl living in a very technical world. In the course of my duties I have come across some very confusing technical terms. I thought this week as a special treat I would share what I thought that these terms meant (at times this has resulted in some grave disappointment) and what they actually mean!

Technical lingo Holly's definition Everyone else's definition
Inter Mod A new subculture?? There is a more technical definition than the one that follows but this is how I always remember it. It is like primary and secondary colours. Legitimate signals (or the primary colours) mix to make an unwanted signal (the secondary colour). Often a source of interference.
Skirt Signals a happy change in the direction of the conversation and that Joe is ready to discuss fashion and admire the skirt I am wearing!
Imagine a bell curve graph. The top of this curve would be where the signal can transmit legally (that is, within its licence). The edges form the skirt (an A line) fall outside the permitted frequency range and can cause interference to adjacent frequencies.
Corona Discharge A happy accident with your beer. Or else perhaps even more pleasingly that a trip to the pub is imminent. Think of the advertisement, 'where you’d rather be!'
In electricity, a corona discharge is an electrical discharge brought on by the ionization of a fluid surrounding a conductor that is electrically charged. Spontaneous corona discharges occur naturally in high-voltage systems unless care is taken to limit the electric field strength.